A blogger seeking a richer life... in a wasteland called the suburbs... for my family, myself, and anyone who will listen!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Heavenly Yogurt!

Good things in small packages... as you already know I'm a big fan of Trader Joe's, and well this is by far one of their best products yet!  I love both the Chocolate and Mocha flavors... they're rich and delicious.
Now if you're counting calories you might flinch at 130 for 5 ounces, but having just lost 14 pounds in 3 months, this is my TREAT... not all at once, but a couple of spoonfuls at a time does the trick...

What are your favorite Trader Joe's Products?

I look forward to blogging from Sedona next week, until then, have a great weekend!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

If Women Ran Wall Street

I'm packing today for our family trip to Arizona next week where I'll be blogging about our adventures in  Sedona, and that amazing hole in the ground called 'The Grand Canyon'.  For now I wanted to share this article I found fascinating...  

photo by Lori Nix

In the current issue of New York Magazine, an article titled, "What If Women Ran Wall Street, testosterone and risk.", by Sheelah Kolhatkar, caught my eye... it pokes a hole in the stereotype that men are more rational and less emotional than women, and that possibly the cause of the latest devastating economic downturn was unregulated emotional males!  Halla Tomasdottir, chairman of Iceland's Audur Capital and author of "The Great Big Penis Competition", doesn't argue that all men are one stereotype and all women are another, but talks about the herd behavior: "They all think the same, they're all from the same school, with the same friends, the same jargon, the same books. You get very unbalanced as a result." Will women buy into the next financial frenzy (or bubble), displaying the same mania as males or do females respond to stress differently?... neuroscientists have something interesting to say, maybe we can apply these ideas to our personal lives too... check out this fascinating article.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

A Dramatic Trend!

This Season's most dramatic trend... 'Bib Necklaces' (funny name) has to be my favorite... and wearing them dressy, or casual with jeans and a tank top... any simple neckline is the best way to frame them.  They make even the most simple outfit very striking.  I wore this one last Friday night out with the girls to dinner and a show in NYC with jeans, a navy tank top and navy asymmetrical sweater, taupe suede boots, and I got so many compliments...
Lester's, $39.99

You don't have to spend a lot on this trend... I picked some rose colored bibs on sale...

These are more expensive...

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Grilling Sexism

Whenever we go to a summer party, and there are a bunch of men standing around 'the man chef' at the grill... they're telling grilling stories, a sort of macho, good-ol-boy thing... but wait, where is my husband in all this... nowhere to be found?... oh yea, there he is, discussing some science-y thing with anyone who will listen... all kidding aside, I DO find it fascinating (that's why we're happily married), but the reason he's not in on the 'grill conversation' is that he doesn't grill... I grill, I'm the chef, cook, and bottle washer in this family. So last night was an exception... I was exhausted from sleep deprivation, packing for Sedona, carpooling, etc., so he wanted to help out by grilling the chicken and pork for our 'Burrito Night'.  Great job honey!  I showed him how to test the meat for 'doneness' with the grilling tongs and more... something I'll get back to another day.
Chop everything into bite-size pieces
This is an old seasoning I had from Williams Sonoma which I used on the pork chops

The kids LOOOOVE 'Burrito Night'... especially since puberty has them eating like animals these days... speaking of animals... this one has better manners than my kids... see how patiently our dog waits... he's waiting for me to toss a few bites of meat in with his dry food, right Jezzy...

Jez is so sweet and gentle...

So as you may know,  I do a lot of shopping at Trader Joe's and last night's meal reflects that... pre-marinated chicken, 'Pollo Asada' (pretty good), 'Guacamole Kit' (delicious and perfectly convenient), and 3 minute microwave 'Organic Brown Rice' (very good), 'Fire Roasted Salsa' (great)...

Make it mild or hot however you like

I try to keep tortillas on hand for nights like this... most of the time I don't eat the tortilla (too many calories), but I make a platter with all the goodies on a bed of lettuce... Sooo yummy!

Would love to hear about your 'Burrito Night'... 

Monday, March 22, 2010

A Special GNO

 On Friday five of us (with me driving), left the kids and the husbands at home and high-tailed it over the 59th Street Bridge and into NYC to celebrate a special birthday for a special friend... first stop, Hell's Kitchen, for dinner at Gallo Nero Wine Bar and Grill, a gem of a trattoria and serious wine bar with ONLY (haha) 45 wines by the glass and 500 by the bottle... way more serious than we were... giddy just to be 'out and about', snapping photos like tourists, while being seated at the best table in the house on one of the warmest of winter nights...
The ambiance was beautiful, casual and intimate...

First Course...
Crostini with tomato, basil and truffled goat cheese

Frisse salad with pear poached in beets and gorgonzola

Buratta made from mozzarella and cream

Fried calamari

All of the food was delicious and...
With one minute to spare we made it to theater, tipsy and completely satisfied!

"Next To Normal", winner of three Tony Awards... and crazy as it may seem... it is... an extraordinary musical about a mother who is bipolar and the pain she and her suburban family endure... it's a real 'tear-jerker', so be prepared...  as the NY Times put it, " This brave and breathtaking musical... never for a minute does it let you escape the anguish at the core of their lives..."
photo by Sara Krulwich/ The New York Times

Friday, March 19, 2010

Asymmetry Abounds!

Today is already filled with excitement (and a little quiet desperation) as I anticipate tonight.... it's my girlfriends birthday celebration, a BIG one, and five of us (women) are going to dinner and a Broadway show in NYC!  Planning a Girls Night Out in the city was not a simple task with kids, and kids with busy schedules... I had to pull favors as my husband works late on Fridays, and we have to leave Long Island around 4pm to make a 6pm dinner reservation comfortably and then an 8pm show.
I'll tell you all about our night out on Monday's blog, but first, thoughts about what to wear... since the weather has been in the 60's this week, and today's the warmest yet... shopping for spring was how I spent some of my time this week.  As a painter and artist, I love asymmetry in many things, so I'm happy to see it in many of the tops and dresses for spring...

One of my favorite places to shop is Meringue Boutique in Plainview and Dix Hills, NY... not only for their fashionista styling, but for the warm and personal service from Dawn and Grace!

Happy Birthday to my friend and biggest supporter, Marilyn!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

A Memorable Grill Night

It's hit and miss at our local fish market... by that I mean the freshness of these sea creatures... but when it's fresh, good thoughts about that meal can last for days, as it did the other night when I grilled Halibut for dinner.  I like to work off a recipe, even if I don't happen to have all the ingredients... unless I'm missing key things, I can usually substitute and just wing it... it's not about perfection for me.  If you feel too much pressure cooking for your family, then the enjoyment is lost.  Take Grilled Halibut in Lemon Mustard Tarragon for example... I didn't have tarragon, so I substituted thyme instead... and it was delicious!  Also I  had regular dijon mustard, but used a slightly different dijon mustard from Trader Joe's called 'Aioli Garlic Mustard Sauce'...

reserved some of the marinade, warmed it and drizzled on to serve

sugar snap peas, corn, and carrots

I only had a little brown rice...

... so I also made frozen tandoori naan

These are the nights, when everything comes together so nicely, that I think... 'why isn't it this effortless when I'm having guests for dinner?'.  Of course... it's called pressure, and the stress of it prevents things from going more smoothly.
Please share your favorite family dinner menu with us...

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Celebrating Green!

I don't have to WEAR green on St. Patricks Day, because my eyes are green or some say hazel (of course my husband and kids have blue eyes)... and also my Irish girlfriend and former roomate deemed me 'Honorary Irish', after putting up with her antics for so many years... "just kidding" Mikie.
Green just happens to be my favorite color too... I hate when people ask, "What's your favorite" anything?... don't you?   I don't have a favorite song...  but I did sing "When Irish Eyes Are Smiling", in a trio once for some school thing, and I never forgot that experience or every word of the song to this day! 
Maybe that's where my long and unfulfilled fantasy of becoming a Jazz singer began... although I did have a friend who was a Jazz singer and she taught me to sing the Billie Holiday classic "Am I Blue", just to prove to myself I could...

Ok, so today I should be singing..."Am I GREEN"...
NEWS FLASH... there is actually a severe shortage of clovers reported from Ireland this year due to the severe weather this winter... so there is less green for this year's St. Patrick's Day.

I say let's enlist the CGI (computer generated imaging) people to make as many 3D Clovers as possible.

... or just go to Michaels for some "Shamrock Sprinkle Mix", yes it's edible and Kosher too!

Although Deb Perelman whose wonderfully delicious (and beautifully photographed) blog "Smitten Kitchen" modestly calls this  'American soda bread'...  I recommend anything she makes... I could go on and on about her recipes, ( and especially her posts about Italian chef extraordinaire Marcella Hazan) but I must 'green up' now for the day, so just visit her site when you can...
and Happy St. Paddy's Day!    

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Queen of the Dress!

Diane von Furstenberg, queen of the dress, "the iconic wrap dress"...  symbolizing power and freedom for many women in the 1970's.  This year with dresses being very big (I'm happy) in fashion, and in my closet, I wanted to show a few of my favorites, and just point out how AMAZING they feel on you... with the silk jersey wrap dresses you'll want to wear them, and wake up in them...

What's great about this poplin dress is that it hides all those little imperfections in my nearly perfect figure... Ha Ha!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Mommy Crisis Squared!

Squared refers to the level of stress I walked around with most of the day as a result of my middle school son... because by a certain age you basically have ZERO power, you're between a rock and a hard place with your kids.  They're pretty independent, yet they have the judgement of a rooster!  My 11 almost 12 year old son had me in tears in his guidance counselors office on Friday... one of the very few days I didn't post my blog since beginning in September last year... and that's from an obsessed blogger.
It's a long story... he lost no misplaced (as he often does) something very important which had a time pressure, causing a very LARGE  'ri p  p   l   e effect'  throughout his school from teachers to administrators... people outside of school, appointments I had to cancel... texting, emailing, calling, driving, until finally the 'flood gates' could stand to hold on no more... there I was in his guidance counselors office with tears pouring down my face, glaringly out of place in my sunglasses on such a gray day... she was GREAT, comfortable like a friend, reassuring that this was all normal, that she and many others had been there all to often too... but I was still left with the big question, "Is this a stage or is this who he is?... get used to it sister!    
Don't be fooled...

The good news is that he found what we were looking for in the late morning, but because he lost the charge on his cell phone, he couldn't call me from the bathroom, and his third period teacher wouldn't let him go to the office to call me, until finally his fourth period teacher let him call from her cell phone...
OMG I think I'm reliving it, anyway you get the idea... then everything fell into perspective later that night when I was resting on the couch uncomfortably watching ABCs'  "20/20", Inside The World of Childhood Schizophrenia, about families coping with kids with severe mental illness.
Just imagine when these kids say they want to 'kill their parents' they actually mean it!  My heart goes out to them.  
Kudos to correspondent Jay Schadler, for telling this story with the utmost sensitivity.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

... for that Champagne Look

Since the Academy Awards, I've been thinking about the beautiful soft champagne colors we saw in some of my favorite gowns, and how to translate that into everyday life outside the Hollywood spectacle... in my search I found this silk 'Gabrielle' dress, from Calypso, a global luxury retailer selling everything from clothing to home accessories...
This would look great on my friend Jill

originally $225, Now $99

Equally beautiful necklaces and bracelets...